Asia’s third largest crude importer South Korea took a record 2.77mn b/d in 2015. Of this, 2.30mn b/d came from the Middle East, also a record. But, while the overall volumes from the region continue to edge higher (see graph 1), Korea has slowly been diversifying its crude sources.

The region provided 82.9% of Korea’s crude imports in 2015. Whilst still extremely high – and higher than its East Asian peers (see graph 2), this is down on almost 87% for 2013 (see table,...